How To Make Fitness A Regular Part Of Your Child’s Life
Back in the day, kids spent their spare time playing outside with friends. Pick-up games of baseball or tag were the norm, children and teens rode their bikes everywhere, and moms were fine with yelling out the door for the kids to come in for dinner.
The advent of modern technology, more congested living spaces and overall busier lifestyles has changed all that. With our phones, tablets and the latest shows on Netflix often taking priority over physical activity, it can sometimes be challenging to make sure your kids are getting enough exercise. But it really isn’t too difficult to make fitness a part of daily life, which is not only good for the kids (check out the lifelong dangers of childhood obesity here), but also a huge benefit for the whole family.
Here are four ways to get your kids moving everyday.
1. Team Sports
If your child likes group activities, signing them up for a team sport can be a great way to encourage them to get out and move. Being part of a team also teaches important social skills, such as learning to work together, taking direction from others and being a good sport. And if you don’t like the competitive nature of some team sports, there are plenty of groups that have recreational team activities, with all skill levels accepted and focusing more on having fun than winning the game.
2. Fun With Friends
Rather than engaging in general neighborhood play, many children today get together via playdates set up by their parents. When setting up a playdate, consider arranging it at a park, zoo or other outdoor venue to optimize physical activity. If the weather isn’t cooperative, things like climbing gyms or indoor pools often have weekend specials for children to enjoy, and kids are always up for Mom joining in on a game of tag, hide and seek or a nerf war! Active, imaginative play is an enjoyable way for kids to get some exercise without it feeling forced or rigid.
3. Active Family Time
It’s tempting to just want relaxation on the weekend, with parents often too tired to do more than let their child have some computer time or watch a movie. But being active as a family not only provides important physical benefits for all involved, it can lead to moments of deep conversations, insights and memories that last long after the interest in any computer game has faded. Even very young children can enjoy a hike, swim or bike ride alongside mom and dad. If you’re adventurous, consider a weekend getaway into one of our many national parks, where you can hike, bike and climb, all while experiencing the wonders of nature through your child’s eyes.
4. Lead By Example
While making sure our children are fit and active is important, staying fit ourselves is one of the best things we can do for our family. Children learn best from us, and if they see their parents making an effort toward fitness, it’s quite likely they will follow suit. There’s nothing selfish about taking time to go to that yoga class, as your children will see that you place a priority on your own health and that being healthy is important for all of us.